Tolerance of Divergent Views Within Protestantism

In my experience most “anti-Catholics” seem to be quite tolerant of divergent views within Protestantism, but do not give Catholics the same courtesy. If anti-Catholics truly believe in sola scriptura and are willing to tolerate different views within non-Catholic circles, why aren’t they more sensitive and tolerant of Catholic views which are also biblically based? As Catholics we might also examine ourselves to see if we are displaying any “triumphalism” or unchristian behavior/example toward our non-Catholic counterparts.

I have read many threads and posts on these forums that have been extraordinarily persuasive, and yet there are individuals holding opposing views that will concede “nothing” even when their position is untenable.

This thread is not meant to insult anyone or to stir up a hornet’s nest. I’m hoping that some “honest” and thoughtful reflection on the subject might help all of us overcome some of our preconceived ideas and prejudices. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to find more effective ways to communicate with one another.

You make several good points. One thing I think is that some Protestants have some sort of inferiority complex relating to the Catholic Church. This is evidenced by many of them feeling so threatened by such things as closed Communion, and other rules which make them feel excluded. Often, when folks have these feelings of exclusion and second best, they react by having a sour grapes approach, and spend a lot of energy cutting down the object of their envy. It’s sort of like poor people resenting rich people, or unpopular kids hating the popular ones. It’s just human nature… :slight_smile:

[quote=Pax]In my experience most “anti-Catholics” seem to be quite tolerant of divergent views within Protestantism, but do not give Catholics the same courtesy. If anti-Catholics truly believe in sola scriptura and are willing to tolerate different views within non-Catholic circles, why aren’t they more sensitive and tolerant of Catholic views which are also biblically based? As Catholics we might also examine ourselves to see if we are displaying any “triumphalism” or unchristian behavior/example toward our non-Catholic counterparts.

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Part of the apparent tolerance you speak of could be the influence of dispensational theology among North American Protestants. The ex-Anglican who started to, named Darby, had a saying, “When the plain sense makes sense, seeks no other sense.” Implicit in this saying was the assumption that each and every person could, authoritatively and correctly, interpret Holy Scripture. Without an authoritative source to interpret Holy Scripture, it is very hard to argue against another position.

Take the questionn of the rapture and the milennium. Some Protestants are what are called pre-tribulation, some post-tribulation, milennarians. Some suggest that it is inappropriate to interpret Revelations literally. That leaves two choices: divide, or label the issue a sort of in-house debate. But fission has been the history of the Protestant denominations for the most part.

But make no mistake. There is real rancour even within some Protestant denominations. Take the Lutherans. The Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, recognizes one other Lutheran denomination in (I believe) Wisconsin, but will have nothing to do with – will not even pray with – other Lutherans. Right now, the Anglican Communion, which has boasted that it refrains from proclaiming doctrines, is on the verge of a massive split. And one part does not much like the other, at this point.

As for us, well, there seems to be a problem that “we won’t play.” Many Protestant’s first instinct is to argue from the stance of sola scripture. To a Catholic, discussing the faith that way is like trying to play a concerto on the piano using only one colour of key. The thing is, we will play, but not by those rules.

But you are right about triumphalism. The truth we have, the truth all Christians have, is a gift from a loving God, not something we can point to as if we had derived it on our own.

Blessings,

Gerry

[quote=WhiteDove]You make several good points. One thing I think is that some Protestants have some sort of inferiority complex relating to the Catholic Church. This is evidenced by many of them feeling so threatened by such things as closed Communion, and other rules which make them feel excluded. Often, when folks have these feelings of exclusion and second best, they react by having a sour grapes approach, and spend a lot of energy cutting down the object of their envy. It’s sort of like poor people resenting rich people, or unpopular kids hating the popular ones. It’s just human nature… :slight_smile:
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I couldn’t have said it better! And when something only approximately 500 years old has to contend with something over 2,000 years old, they are at a disadvantage, especially with no central authority to guide them…I mean it appears the “spirit” guides each one of the denominations, even right down to each little church in the same denomination, differently and they’re not glued together. Rather than tackle that immense problem, it’s easier to just band together and cut into the oldest, unified faith.

JELane

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